Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's absence from the high-level meeting on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Sunday (September 26) is becoming a predicament for him. Now Baghel is on the target of the opposition BJP for his absence during this meeting. Alleging the Chief Minister on this matter, BJP has presented a complete account of the Maoist incidents during Bhupesh Baghel's tenure. Describing the Chief Minister as insensitive towards Left Wing Extremism, BJP has released all the data related to Maoist activities during 2019-20 and 20-21.
Data released by the BJP states that 69 and 41 Maoists have been confirmed neutralised in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively. At the same time, there has been no significant difference in the death toll of the tribes. In 2019-20 and 2020-21, Left-wing terrorists claimed the lives of 55 and 51 tribes, respectively.
Apart from this, BJP has also released data regarding the Maoists' massive damage to government property. Accusing the state Congress government of showing a soft attitude towards Maoist violence, the BJP said that during the Bhupesh Baghel government tenure in the year 2019-20, over 9 crores 56 lakh government property was damaged by the Maoists.
The leftist violence did not stop during the Corona period, when the whole country was locked up. In 2020-21, government property worth more than one crore 39 lakhs has been destroyed by left-wing terrorists. During this time, the Maoists wreaked havoc on government properties in Sukma, Bijapur and Dantewada. They also caused significant damage to the development works in these areas. Rajnandgaon MP Santosh Pandey said that Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's non-participation in this high-level meeting shows his insensitivity to such a serious issue even in such a grave situation.
It should be noted that the Chief Ministers of 10 Naxal-affected states, including Chhattisgarh, were invited by the Home Minister to the meeting on Sunday, during which Shah was to take stock of the ongoing operations against the ultras and the development work done at the ground level.
Briefing the media on the issue, an official of Chhattisgarh State Public Relations Department said, "Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain and Director General of Police DM Awasthi have gone to the national capital on behalf of the Chief Minister to attend the meeting." Chief Minister Baghel could not attend this meeting because of a conference of Chandranahu Kurmi Samaj in the Mahasamund district of the state on Sunday afternoon. It should be noted that the Chief Minister skipped the crucial meeting when the Left Wing Extremism situation in Chhattisgarh could be a major agenda for discussion as the state has witnessed several deadly attacks on security forces by Maoists in the past few years.
According to the recently released National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) annual report, Chhattisgarh has recorded the highest number of crimes committed by Maoists in 2020. According to data released by the Chhattisgarh Police, 1,237 security personnel, mostly paramilitary forces and 1,615 civilians, have been killed in Maoist violence in the state from 2001 to June this year. During the same period, bodies of 1,027 Left-Wing terrorists were also recovered after encounters with security forces, while 4,552 militants have surrendered.
Eight districts of the state – Bastar, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur, Sukma (all in the Bastar region) and Rajnandgaon – are among the most Maoist-affected districts in the country and have been battling this menace for over three decades. Now, at such a crucial time, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's avoidance of such an important high-level meeting citing a caste convention reflects his insensitivity to the Maoist's issue.